CIPC #359: Macintosh 1984 keynote speech

This year, it is precisely forty years ago that the first Macintosh computers were released on an unsuspecting world. With a full one hundred and twenty eight kilobytes of RAM,1 it was quite a beast for its time. Its first commercial was aired during the superbowl. This commercial was a complete failure, as it didn’t have a single chess piece in it. This obvious flaw was rectified when Steve Jobs gave his keynote speech, when a chess program was showcased together with other important programs for the Macintosh.

I’m not entirely sure what chess program they used and I haven’t got the faintest clue who could have been playing. In fact, I’m not even sure which pieces are which, or indeed what colour, because technology was apparently not advanced enough yet to allow for easily recognisable pieces. Or good video footage.

I think the position shown during the show is this one:2

There’s no sugar coating it: this is ridiculous.3 White clearly should have resigned ages ago. Probably, the aim of this show is to suggest that the computer is playing black and since it’s such an advanced machine, it’s naturally winning.

As, indeed, history has proven it to be.

Realism: 2/5 The position is bizarre. Not just that white barely has any pieces left, but also the knight on f8 is very out of place. And black’s pawn structure is weird.

Probable winner: Black is up 128k of material. With such an advantage, it’s hard to lose than to win.

1. [Just enough for a horn and an ear.]
2. [Why don’t diagram editors ever get keynote speeches?]
3. [Rubber coating it would be more appropriate anyway.]